Here is an excerpt from the first section (Gospel) of the Karis Membership Class. The next meeting, Part III, will be held March 24th from 5-7 p.m. in the Calvary Fellowship Hall. Karis is a confessional church. This means that we affirm together, as a local congregation, what we believe about God and His gospel. In a post-modern age that questions grand stories, resists absolute truth, and considers sacred texts or creeds to be oppressive, and in a post-modern church that through accommodation embraces the same, we as a family proclaim our unity around a confession of faith, agreeing to hold each other accountable to it.
Our posture toward the universal church, however, is one of love and unity, desiring to partner with other gospel-proclaiming congregations and ministries. We seek to humbly, yet confidently, maintain our distinctiveness, while seeking unity around primary issues and ignoring secondary ones. We hold our doctrine humbly, keeping ourselves open to correction and growth, while recognizing that such humility is not incompatible with deep conviction. As fallen humans, our understandings must be challenged and refined, but many before us have died for the gospel of Jesus, and that truth must be defended from error.
Our final authority is God’s word, the Bible. However, we recognize the value of systematizing what we believe about its teachings. Only God’s word is inspired, yet all of us believe teachings about God and His gospel, and unwritten creeds can prove themselves to be quite oppressive.
We are confessional. We must seek to understand God’s word and clearly declare the Christian faith. We must cling to that faith, knowing that rightly understanding God and His gospel is the key to our joy and His glory. We must contend for our beliefs, understanding that the Lord calls us to defend the biblical portrait of Him and the truth of His gospel (Jude 3). We must contextualize that truth, recognizing that the unchanging message must find relevant expression in every culture (1 Cor. 9:19-23). We must not compromise our doctrine, committing to cling to the historic gospel in diverse cultures while maintaing biblical fidelity (2 Tim. 4:1-3).